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How to Become an Industry Expert
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How to Become an Industry Expert
Wouldn’t it be great to be known as an expert in your industry? One of those sources who customers, reporters and other business owners turn to for help and advice? Well, if you’ve been running your business for any length of time, the good news is you already are an expert in your industry—you just need to let other people know about it. Try these suggestions to build your reputation as an expert and burnish your business’s image.
If you’ve got any talent for writing, sharing your expertise on your own business website is the natural way to go. Consider starting a blog on your website or, if you don’t want to commit to the ongoing work of a blog, post relevant articles.
Another way to spread your expertise is by writing for others. Find well-known bloggers in your industry and ask if you can contribute posts to their blogs. Commenting on others’ blog posts is another good way to establish your credentials. Make sure your comments contribute something to the conversation by extending the discussion or bringing up new points.
Of course, you can share your written expertise in other ways as well. Try writing short articles to include in your company’s print or email newsletters. Or create a “tip sheet” that you give out as a promotional piece or bonus when prospects contact you or when customers place an order. For instance, an accountant could create a “Year-End Tax Tips” tip sheet for individuals and another for businesses. You can distribute them in any way you choose—brochure, flyer, online or email.
Despite the prevalence of the Web, print publications still carry a lot of weight—and because it’s harder to get a gig writing for a print publication than an online one, doing so can really boost your credibility. Contact print magazines in your industry, and pitch your ideas for an article or even a regular column. Be sure you have something new and distinctive to offer.
Local newspapers can be a great way to become known as an expert. Smaller, local papers often actively seek businesspeople from the community to contribute. Again, talk to the appropriate editor about write or contribute to an article for your local paper.
Both print and online journalists are constantly looking for trustworthy, intelligent sources. Find reporters who focus on your industry and get known to them—either by commenting on their articles or by contacting them online. If you can provide new information, a fresh outlook or data they can’t get elsewhere, you could quickly find yourself being quoted and portrayed as an expert.
Become active in your industry organizations such as trade associations, both national and local. Don’t just show up; join committees and take a leadership role in those groups. Offer to speak at the organizations’ conferences or trade shows. If you can’t get a slot on the speaker’s roster, see if you can moderate a panel or teach a breakout seminar.
Educate your prospects. Let others know about your expertise by volunteering to speak in the community. Find an organization that relates to your business; for instance, the accountant I mentioned earlier could volunteer to speak at a local business group or chamber of commerce meeting; the sporting goods store owner could speak to a Little League group or running club. Prepare a talk that informs and educates the listeners, while also being sure to provide some takeaways such as business cards, brochures or tip sheets that listeners can remember you by.
Last, but not least, get out in the community to offer your expertise. Sponsor events relevant to your business; set up a booth and distribute information that’s useful to attendees. The more your name, face and words are seen in the community and among your prospects, the more they’ll come to view you as their go-to expert.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva at Twitter.com/Rievaand visit her blog at SmallBizDaily.com. Visit her website SmallBizTrendCastto get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.
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